Taco Libre was held on June 18th , 2016, in the historic Union Station Train Shed of downtown Montgomery, Alabama. This beautiful spot along the Alabama River is a great spot for an outdoor event with a cover in the event of rain or on this day, sunshine.
Posts from the ‘Montgomery Alabama’ Category
MEGabite #28 or #74 Counting Down. Mediterranean Pizza at Tomatino’s
In the heart of a cool neighborhood in Montgomery, Tomatino’s has been a place that strives to bake outstanding pizza using fresh, organic and best quality ingredients.
I chose the traditional crust. Loaded with fresh spinach, Roma tomatoes, mushrooms, red onions, artichoke hearts and capers. Topped with feta, mozzarella and provolone cheeses. the hand tossed crust was perfect. I was hesitant on the mixture of toppings but this pizza was really delicious and cheesy. I liked it a lot!
Aside from being on “The 100,” Here are a few more accolades;
- Best Pizza” in the River Region by Max Federal Credit Union’s more Magazine – Spring 2011.
- Chosen by the Wall Street Journal as a “must stop” place along the Civil Right’s Trail.
- Tomatinos was selected by the Montgomery Advertiser Reader’s Choice Award for the “Best Pizza” in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2010.Tomatinos Pizza
One of the things that I love about Tomatino’s is their menu of fresh ingredients and many choices to build your own. To name a few interesting toppings; Alabama goat cheese, house-baked meatballs, Gulf shrimp, fresh mushrooms, Shitake and Portobello mushrooms,, squash, almonds, basil pesto, Genoa and Prosciutto…Yum!
- I give this pizza 4 MEGastars;
- *** stars for good tasting pizza with a wonderful toppinga, cheese and crust menu.
- * star for meeting the criteria set forth by Tourism Alabama of using fresh local ingredients served with Alabama pride!
- Get the cheeseticks.
- It is a small restaurant and may be busy during shows held at The Capri Theater.
- Have room left after the pizza? Try a gelato or one of the specialty desserts from Café’ Louisa.
MEGabite #24 or #78 counting down. Tasty Tuesday with Ahi Tuna Spring Roll, soy lime dipping sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi at La Jolla restaurant in Montgomery, Alabama.
Let me begin by giving thanks to Alabama Tourism for introducing me to my new favorite dish. I have had the good fortune of tasting many dishes on my Alabama 100 journey. This dish epitomizes a perfect Alabama food experience (for me). It truly was love at first sight.The fresh yellow Ahi-tuna is sushi grade and the taste was apparent. Together with spinach and wasabi, wrapped and then flash fried to a crispy exterior. Important as the tuna was finished perfectly. The soy lime dipping sauce was really delicious and yet I was torn between “to dip or not to dip,” and simply savor that pure delicious tuna. It was that delicious.
Served with a salad that was equally unique and extremely tasty. Really fresh greens with glorious calamari. I absolutely LOVED it!
Although, I could have stopped at this dish, I really wanted to taste a few other items off of the menu. I ordered a salad made with; grilled bacon wrapped quail, maple balsamic glaze, mixed greens, roasted vidalia vinaigrette, Vermont white cheddar and bruléed apples. Yum!After recently purchasing a new spiralizer, I wanted to taste zucchini noodles done by someone who knows what they are doing. . When dining out, it is often difficult to make healthy and interesting choices. I appreciated that this dish was on the menu. Zucchini noodles made with pecorino and Tuscan olive oil, this dish did not disappoint. I am further inspired to expand my zucchini noodle menu at home. Thanks chef! Other dishes that I tasted at my table and enjoyed;
- Seared diver scallops over house made fettuccini, baby spinach, saffron-fennel cream
They cook on the Big Green Egg Grill. I realize that I am using the word “love” quite a bit in this write up. But, this is how I feel about this grill. This snap was taken in The Netherlands and some day, I am going to re-create this cooking area.I found it wonderful and refreshing that the farms and other local businesses are highlighted on their website. Wonderful experience. Hats off to you Chefs and folks at La Jolla.
Also highlighted on La Jolla website is the hand-crafted bar, made from Pecky Cyprus. Originated from beams in old Alabama saw mills. #repurpose, #recycle Set against the signature concrete countertops #cool, #hip, #Modern
MEGastars; 5 ***** I have been giving out a lot of 5 stars based upon my own criteria. (However, just you wait.) This stop will be what all other stops are measured against. I had a perfect experience.
**** THE tastiest experience that I have had playing 100 dishes thus far.
For a wonderful atmosphere with folks who were friendly and professional. The man who was our server was knowledgeable but even more impressive was his knowledge of detail and the spirit of passion came through. They sure met the goal of customer service as noted on their website mission statement. To note, this dish met the criteria set forth by Alabama Tourism for local food crafted with Alabama pride.
* The fifth star because this dish made me quiver. It was literally to die for. I simply can not wait to return and have this Ahi again. MEGabite nirvana!
- La Jolla is no longer in the Eastchase location. Located just a few moments drive in The Peppertree Shopping Center.
- This is a BIG one. This dish is ONLY served on Wednesday’s.
- La Jolla is not open for lunch.
- I noticed the following on their website. “*Please note: La Jolla is an adult atmosphere restaurant & respectfully request no children under age 12”
- Do not be skewed by reviews that you might have read. This restaurant IS meeting their mission statement. Visit them.
- As far as the reviews on the price point. I had no issue with cost. Example; the small plate of scallops was $23. I personally felt it was fair for food cooked to perfection. Homemade fettuccine noodles with scallops, seared on the Big Egg grill. This labor-intensive dish coupled with perfect service, was well worth the cost.
- From their website “Serving dinner only, La Jolla focuses on offering consistent quality & customer service. The menu offers something for everyone from small plates to meats cooked to perfection from The Big Green Egg to exquisitely created entrees that have become synonymous with La Jolla. The wine list includes 100+ wines focusing on American wines with 8 beers on tap.”
This MEGabites and MEGastars description is found at the bottom of each post. If you are new to my 100 Dishes in Alabama escapade, this may be helpful.
*100 Dishes to eat in Alabama before you die is a compilation of food to chow down on Bama style. Thanks to Tourism Alabama, www.alabama.travel my Alabama bucket list just became a little easier. I am going to have some fun while making my way like Ms. Pacman, in yet another state that I call home. You too may pick up the brochure at Alabama Tourism stops or download the alphabetical brochure that begins in Abbeville and ends in York. From the little old diner to the white cloth joint, it is an opportunity to explore and experience pride in the food from restaurateurs who are dedicated to local food with some Alabama style. From the local BBQ cook to James Beard recipients, you too will take a culinary trip across scenic and historical Alabama.
I use a 5 MEGastar system. I am not a food critic, just Meg, a curious traveler, with an interest in trying different foods and sharing my two cents on food experiences. I try to follow my star system so that I may be fair to the wonderful dishes on this list.
- *meh food. Just wasn’t good. Maybe the food came from a can. The place was not one that I would want to send someone to show pride in Alabama. This has happened to me a few times and it is a difficult write.
- ** passable – the food was ok and above happened but the place or vice versa
- *** good but not outstanding or unique
- **** Very tasty dish AND meets one of the definitions set forth by Alabama Foods/Tourism, of local food and/OR highlights Alabama Pride.
- ***** I actually died, went to heaven and came back when I ate the dish. OR, something is very unique, something you can not get anywhere else.
I play “100 dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die. It gets a little confusing for me because there are something like 247 actual dishes listed in the pamphlet. Recently, an app has been developed and a restaurant named True’s just popped up on this list.
I had heard good things about True, Oprah ate there. On “The 100 List” is a dish called the Roasted Beet Plate-fresh local beets with a zesty vinaigrette, extra virgin olive oil, a dusting of candied pecan ash and creamy Stone Hollow Goat Cheese. Yum!However, when I arrived, I couldn’t find the restaurant. Come to find out, Chef Wesley True left Montgomery and is now in Atlanta.
However, when I arrived, I couldn’t find this restaurant. Come to find out, Chef Wesley True had left Montgomery and is now in Atlanta. No more True.
Now called The A&P Social, after the former grocery chain store that was located in this very same spot. As an FYI, when I was a child, I had begged my Mom to go to Michigan from Wisconsin to get me A&P peanut butter, since our local store had closed. There was probably a closer store but I was a kid and kids can be weird. So I may have felt connected from the beginning of my meal .
Karma struck. I learned after this visit that Chef Miguel Figueroa has located to the former True to take over as head Chef. The beet salad was not on this wonderful menu. I had a difficult time choosing my meal from the fantastic menu. There were amazing specials and fresh Gulf Seafood. I have been into hummus, oysters and macaroni and cheese lately. Random.
For starters, I chose the Black Eyed Pea Hummus, with roasted garlic oil and super delicious gourmet sesame crackers. One Word-YUM!
For my meal, I chose two sides. 1/2 dozen Grilled Oysters-parmesan,parsley,Sriracha garlic butter, served with really delicious grilled bread. This was a super fun try. The waiter gave me a helpful tip, turn the oysters over onto bread and let the juices settle on the bread. WOW! 5 MEGastars *****
And the A&P Mac & Cheese-smoked gouda, cheddar, ham, collards, lima beans. I got the last serving of the day, and it was also a fun try. Being a Wisconsin girl, I might add a little more creamy cheese, but don’t get me wrong, I loved this gourmet Mac & Cheese. The lima beans gave the dish a great texture. Great presentation. 4 MEGastars ****
My husband ordered an Old Fashioned and he liked it. We are too picky on our old-fashioned drinks to comment or rate. (a Wisconsin specialty and there are blogs about this subject, no joking.)
He started with Harvest Salad-fresh pulled greens, soft boiled farm egg, cherry tomatoes, avocado, smoked bacon blue cheese, garlic vinaigrette. He let me try a bite. This salad was out of this world. My husband thought it was the best salad that he had ever eaten. He doesn’t much like tomatoes nor avocado but he ate every last bite. Thanks to Chef Michael for opening this door further! Next time I visit I may have this salad with fried oysters. Chicken can also be added. 5 MEGastars *****
For his main course. Ribeye grilled with chimichurri sauce, house cut fries and brussel sprouts. When the food came out there was zucchini and not brussel sprouts. Ran out? The meat was a tad bit overcooked for med rare but he also enjoyed this dish a whole lot. 4 MEGastars ****
My accidental visit to A & P was a stroke of luck. I am going to add this on to my list for dining in Montgomery. The more I age and the more I dine out, I find that I want food that is interesting, will be useful in my body and not overpowered with salt. I loved that there are fresh Gulf seafood dishes and enough sides for me to choose my perfect meal. My dining experience here is 5 MEGastars *****. I am going back soon. June 25th is National Catfish Day and they have a Tempura Fried Catfish – white BBQ sauce, brussel slaw and hush puppies. Yes, please
I wish the app for “100 Dishes” would remove the places that have closed. I know after doing this for the third time that I need to check out the places ahead of my visit.
- In Montgomery? EAT HERE!
- The Harvest Salad was outstanding.
- Someone at the table next to me was into the Smoked Tuna Dip & Pickled Okra and it looked fantastic.
The questions is as always, Is it Banksy at work? Did Banksy visit Montgomery, Alabama? It may seem far fetched to some that famed British Graffiti Artist Banksy would visit little Montgomery, Alabama.
Consider this, there has been one prior visit to Alabama in 2008. The art suddenly appeared on an abandoned building in downtown area of Montgomery on March 26th. This so happened to be the 50th year anniversary celebration of The Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March. Led by Dr. Martin Luther King 50 years prior. A few people have been around the area for this celebration. President Bush and Obama in Selma, Oprah Winfrey, Marvin Sappe, Patti LaBelle, Rev. Bernice King, U.S. Senators and so on. No big deal just a few people popping into town.
Since hearing of this cool piece of street art, I had been wanting to go take a look myself.
“Everything about it screams Banksy,” Carolyn Wright, a local aficionado of the British street artist, told the Advertiser after examining the new mural. (Huffington Post-4-9-2015) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/09/banksy-martin-luther-king_n_7029142.html
- Banksy, known for sometimes dark satirical graffiti/street art.
- Political Activist
- Unique Stencil Technique
- Epigram style
- Social commentary
I understand the 50 part and have to wonder what the artist meant by the second piece? More work to do? I love street art! I vote Banksy.
MEGASTARS ***** I give this art work a full 5 MEGASTARS!
Conecuh Sausage Flatbread Pizza, Garrett’s of Montgomery-100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die, #8 on Meg’s 100
Tasty Tuesday-Conecuh Sausage Flatbread Pizza-Garrett’s in Montgomery-#8 or #92 on the count down
*100 Dishes to eat in Alabama before you die is a compilation of food to chow down on Bama style. Thanks to Tourism Alabama, www.alabama.travel my Alabama bucket list just became a little easier. I am going to have some fun while making my way like Ms. Pacman, in yet another state that I call home. Download the alphabetical brochure that begins in Abbertville and ends in York. From the little old diner to the white cloth joint, it is an opportunity to explore and experience pride in the food from restaurateurs who are dedicated to local food with some Alabama style. From BBQ to James Beard recipients. EnjoyTasty Tuesday with Meg.
On a prior blog, I wrote about one of the “100 dishes” at Montgomery’s Chris’s Hot Dog’s. I had a lot of fun with wiener/sausage jokes. But this sausage is not a hot mess, From this visit, I learned about an Alabama staple.So with exception to my title, no wiener jokes. #respect for the Chef at Garrett’s and the folks at Conecuh Sausage Company.
Garrett’s takes pride in their establishment and food.
This dish is described as one that “…elevates simple pizza to gourmet level..”
A flatbread pizza topped with Conecuh sausage, three pepper jelly, caramelized Vidalia onions, smoked Gouda, sliced grape tomatoes. With a philosophy of “The Art Of Food” that encompasses all of the senses, this chef has created a wonderful dish.
I liked this dish and give it 4.5 MEGASTARS ****
* MEGASTAR – good food with a very nice presentation!
* 1/2 * MEGASTAR-The pizza ingredients made it a unique try. My curiosity was peaked.
* MEGASTAR- Menu, atmosphere and service were very good.
*MEGASTAR-this dish met the criteria of using local foods with Alabama pride. Alabama’s own loved Conecuh sausage. Well done Chef!
My spinach salad was served with house made bacon vinaigrette and goat cheese. Homemade rolls with creamy yummy flavored butter.
Boring hamburger order at my table? Why order a burger at Garrett’s? Fresh Angus on an onion roll, pecan smoked bacon and chipotle mayo with yummy lil french fries. Duh!
My miscellaneous two cents. Garrett’s has a really wonderful interior. The bar area is gorgeous (sorry no pics) My only issue was that the pepper jelly made the crust a bit soggy and I had a hard time getting past that. Perhaps I did not eat it quick enough? The flavors of the pepper jelly and spicy Conecuh sausage blend nicely with a cheese such as Gouda. I thought it was a fun dish and certainly deserving of “the 100.”
I am a Wisconsin girl living in Alabama. I appreciate good cheese. I support old school cheese and sausage making. Although Conecuh is a large operation, they offer one of their sausages without MSG and Nitrates-kudos to them.
Non Alabama sausage trivia; Wisconsin’s own Milwaukee Brewers has sausages that race during the games. Plus, there is this super cute adopted stray dog named Hank that dresses up in a hot dog costume and runs with these sausages.Hot Dog,Polish Sausage,Chorizo, Italian Sausage, Polish Sausage (lying) and of course lil Hank #GoBrewers
Above photo credit; Brewers #BallparkPup Hank takes part in his first Sausage Race …m.mlb.com Photos: Scott Paulus/Milwaukee Brewers
1. There is live piano night. Might be fun to get a group together and try some interesting appetizers.